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Psalm 23:1-3

Psalm 23:1-3

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Sermon: The LORD is My Shepherd
Bible Passage: Psalm 23:1-3

I. The title/name “Jehovah Ro’yi” comes from Psalms 23:1a 

1. Most likely the composer of the psalm was a shepherd
2. He used his shepherding career as a backdrop/paradigm to picture the LORD’s relationship with him
3. All action words (verbs) are treated as present tense—“progressive present”
4. The psalmist’s testimony about Jehovah comes after he enjoyed the LORD’s substantive caring leadership over him over a period of time
5. So, this is a proclamatory or testimonial psalm

II. The psalmist pictures the LORD as his Shepherd and himself as sheep: “the LORD is my Shepherd”

1. The title “Shepherd” refers to a “ruler” or “leader” or “boss”
2. With the testimony i.e., “the LORD is my Shepherd” the psalmist declares that

a. he and the LORD have a reciprocal relationship
b. in which he is the beneficiary, and the LORD is the benefactor.
c. The LORD does not impose His Shepherding leadership over a sheep
d. But the sheep makes a decision to make it as personal as possible

3 .There are a few things implicit/embedded in this reciprocal relationship

a. Sheep have the tendency to wander—one of the weakest and vulnerable animals
b. Shepherds, on the other hand, are strong and skilled, dedicated for the wellbeing of the sheep
c. The sheep’s wellbeing is based on its trust on the Shepherd
d. In Bible times, the sheep were not kept in fenced sheep-pens
e. But the shepherds provided the security of the fence and the sustenance of their life
f. It’s a relationship that grows stronger over a period of time
g. The more sheep hangs out with the shepherd, the more it trusts him

4. A believer can have a personal relationship with God

a. Israel enjoyed national covenantal relationship with Jehovah
b. In addition to this relationship, the psalmist has a personal relationship which is analogously making Jesus “the Lord” of one’s life

5. The longer a believer hangs out with Triune God the better he/she understands God and appreciates his relationship with Him

III. List of benefits through this reciprocal relationship

1. Place of contentment: “I do not lack anything”

a .The Hebrew verb “not lack” is categorized as an inchoative verb, i.e., the action happens on its own through a process of beginning and becoming
b. The sheep “not lacking anything” happens on its own without an effort from the sheep!!
c. The Shepherd provides all that the sheep wants—“I have no want” “I do not lack anything”
d. Jehovah’s leadership to the psalmist brought contentment—sign of having a good leader and staying a good follower—contentment is the greatest sign of spiritual maturity
e. “Lacking nothing” is the opposite of poverty and being in a state of dissatisfaction

IV. Theology of verse 1b: 

1. A healthy reciprocal relationship between Triune God and believers brings believers to a state of contentment
2. When relationship with God becomes the most prominent one, a believer gains carefree confidence in life

V. Psalm 23 to the NT: 

1. John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd”
2. John 10:14 “14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me”

Take Away:

Through the Good Shepherd, make a reciprocal relationship, in which He takes complete charge of you

Speaker: William J. Subash

Born and raised in south India, William J. Subash became a follower of Jesus Christ in 1983 at the age of nineteen. After a brief career in a tea and coffee plantation, Subash decided to spend rest of his life to preach about Jesus and his life-transforming message of God, which is popularly known as “the Gospel.” Subash teaches New Testament Studies at two institutions: SAIACS in India and Liberty University Online, VA, USA. Currently, Subash serves as the chief point person for GROW Gospel Initiatives and the Lead Pastor of the Crossroad Church, Bangalore. Write to him at wjsubash@crossroadbangalore.org